Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Another city and another run in less than 15 hours was the highlight of my Mother’s Day Weekend. I began Saturday morning with a family 5K in College Park, Maryland with a group of Fit Fathers and their wives, mothers and sister. Shortly afterward I jumped on a United Airlines flight to LAX to join the BRGoodrich Tires team in conjunction with Red Bull for the 3rd Annual Wings For Life World Run. It was truly an amazing experience.
Funding 114 research projects in the field of spinal cord research and cures, Wings For Life has grown in both popularity and runner participation with a 30% registration increase over last year. Only in its third year, the organizers have ascertained that all proceeds go to the aforementioned research cause which is phenomenal.
I arrived to the Hyatt Regency Valencia in the Santa Clarita Valley at 10pm and went directly to sleep in my running gear. To get ready for the 4am West Coast run I arose at 2:30am to pick up my registration packet at the starting line. To my surprise the main street was packed already and the crowds were overly energetic to run for those who can’t. With Wings For Life there is basically no finish line. You simply run as far as you can and stop when caught. We started promptly at 4am in the cool, dark morning hour. A Catcher Car took off 30 minutes later, initially going just under 10 MPH. Gradually, the catcher car increased speeds throughout the race and pursued runners from behind. Once the catcher car passed an individual, that marked their personal finish line where they proceeded to the nearest shuttle for transportation back to the start area.
Held in 34 locations globally including Florida, California, Italy and Japan, the finisher’s medal from this race has now become my most treasured running honor. I’m sure the same goes for 2016 Global Champions Giorgio Calcaterra from Italy who outlasted for a whopping 88.44 kilometers and Kaori Yoshida from Japan who ran 65.7 kilometers! All together there were 130,732 registered runners at official events, 20,556 selfie runners and 6.6 Million Euros raised!
BFGoodrich supported the momentous occasion for very finite reasons. Their overall goal was to raise awareness about the Wings For Life World Run partnership and help drivers prove themselves by way of their “Are You Driver Enough” platforms. “We’re going to prove that our energy, our spirit, and our passion for driving can be channeled and demonstrated in a manner that benefits others,” BFGoodrich stated. And their inspirational slogan is certainly catch, “364 DAYS OF THE YEAR WE ARE DRIVERS…BUT TODAY WE ARE GOING TO RUN.” The crew was also joined in the race by Lance Clifford, BFGoodrich Pro Driver Ambassador, who is a three-time national rock crawling champion with a national championship in the RCAA series and two national championships in the W.E. Rock series.
Shortly afterward I headed back to the airport for Orlando to catch the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games where I would celebrate Mother’s Day properly with my wife. Welcome to the life of a world runner. See you next year!
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